TL;DR With shoppers favouring card and contactless transactions, has COVID-19 determined that card payments have finally become the only way to pay? Does this watershed moment mean that providing payment solutions that resonate with the customer play a key part in brand loyalty as behaviours change? How does providing the right technology, in the right place, convert shoppers into buyers?
Has cash finally gone out of fashion?
A change in payments habits towards card usage over cash has been underway in the UK for some time. A significant shift towards card transactions became apparent during 2019, according to Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance.
For the first time, card payments in 2019 accounted for over half (51%) of all transactions and although it remains the second most favoured, payments by cash fell by 15%. In April 2020, Link, the UK’s biggest network of ATMs, reported that cash usage in Britain has halved as consumers pursue alternative payment methods during COVID-19.
Has this trend helped shoppers to better cope
during the pandemic?
“An increase in ways to pay, coupled with the change in people’s payment habits may have inadvertently gone some way to prepare the nation for the impact of COVID-19 on their daily lives.” Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance
The rise in the number of transactions following the increase in the contactless limit across Europe, provides a basis for that argument. Since 1st April when the contactless limit was raised to £45 in the UK and 28 other countries across Europe, Barclaycard has processed over 25 million contactless payments above the previous limit of £30 in the UK alone. In addition, more than half (57%) of in-store transactions between £30 and £45 at small businesses, are contactless.
The retail and hospitality sectors need to be focused
on staff and customer safety and hygiene to hold onto brand loyalty
The move to contactless is a significant change in behaviour, which has been accentuated by COVID-19 and it’s unlikely it will revert. It is certainly true that essential retailers and petrol forecourts are requesting their customers use contactless for obvious reasons. Understandably, customers and store assistants no longer want to handle cash, and using contactless means that they don’t have to.
It is clear that with this significant change in behaviour, we have reached a watershed moment.
Does this mean we are now at a watershed moment in transaction interactions, for retail, hospitality and small businesses? It certainly looks that way.
Reflecting changes in customer behaviour has always been an important element in ensuring that any retail or hospitality organisation remains relevant. This is true now more than ever and includes the safeguarding, and well-being for both staff and customers. So, what can businesses do to ensure that customers can execute transactions with confidence, and keep coming back?
The solution is to optimise the right use of technology that reflects, and answers, these concerns.
Technology offers the solution
Post coronavirus, and with retail and hospitality businesses re-opening, the increased use of frictionless payments combined with hygiene awareness must remain at the top of the agenda. An environment which makes both customer and staff feel that their welfare is important, will help to keep that relevance and bolster brand loyalty.
One key solution is to provide as few physical touchpoints between staff and customer, or customer and technology. Self-scanning is a proven way to speed up that entire checkout process. By providing a barcode scanner at the point of sale, customers can quickly scan their smart phone or card for a totally frictionless way to add or spend loyalty points, or access their store accounts – hygienically and touch free.
Optimising contactless terminal mounting
and protecting equipment
A payment terminal that is mounted is far less likely to suffer from particle or liquid ingress with the transaction taking place in a more hygienic manner. A mounted terminal requires less physical interaction than one that is simply placed on the countertop. Mounting the terminal also reduces the chances of accidental drops and cable damage.
Queue Busting technology for upstream transactions
In addition to using technology to reduce queues, mPOS (mobile point of sale) solutions such as the SpacePole Duo™ sled now play an important part in ensuring that they do not materialise in the first place. With the Duo, payment transactions are fast, frictionless and without physical contact.
Staff can be employed upstream from the static point of sale with Duo. This solution means the shopper can make their purchase in a place of their choosing, when they want to, safely. It takes the transaction away from the traditional point of sale, helps the customer flow and reduces the chances of queuing whilst promoting social distancing.
The SpacePole Duo allows a flexible point of sale for in store transactions, and for table service in hospitality environments. It is lightweight and comes complete with a range of accessories for ergonomic every day use. The sled pictured pairs the Honeywell CT40 with a range of payment devices, and is complete with ergonomic accessories.
Cash is no longer king, and contactless, aided and abetted by recent events, is how customers prefer to make that transaction. All business sectors are facing challenges that require a new set of rules and a change in approach.
Whether static or mobile, SpacePole payment mounts provide a solution that matches the requirements of today’s consumer as we all adjust to the new normal.
Discover how to make lasting changes that solve these new problems, support customer brand loyalty and foster a safe and secure shopping experience.
Ergonomic Solutions are experts in mPOS and mobile technology mounting solutions that enable frictionless transactions with less personal contact.
Let’s have a conversation and help you navigate the new terrain. Contact email@example.com
or call +44 (0) 1372 728872.